estate duty, capital gains tax and trusts
Estate planning determines what should happen to your assets once you are no longer around to make the decisions. It pays to be strategic about this, as it will enable you to leave most of your hard-earned cash to your loved ones instead of the tax man. Think of it as your parting gift. We can help you structure your estate to reduce and even eliminate taxes.
advice, drafting and preparation of wills
Ensuring you have a valid will can make all the difference to your family when you pass away. Without a will, the laws of intestate succession come into play, meaning that your estate will be divided according to a specified formula by law. A will is such an important part of your estate and financial planning, as it stipulates how you want your assets to be dealt with on your death. Proper estate planning will ensure that your estate is set up in a tax-efficient way that benefits you during your lifetime and your beneficiaries after your death. It is worthwhile to get professional advice whilst drawing one up.
Things to remember when drafting a will:
• Keep the wording simple;
• When referring to a person use their full name and a short description – e.g, my nephew, John Doe;
• Avoid using vague terms, such as ‘cash’;
• Understand each clause in the drafted document ;
• The Will reflects your wishes;
• Your Will must reflect your current situation at all times;
• Complicated Wills should be done by a person with expertise.
A Will should contain the following:
• The identity (full names) of the person whose Will it is;
• The beneficiaries of the estate and the inheritance each is to receive;
• The setting up of a Trust (for example if beneficiaries are under the age of 18) and details regarding the powers of trustees;
• Nominating someone to act as a guardian to a minor child;
• A nominated executor. It may also nominate someone as trustee.
You, the Testator (male) or Testatrix (female)
Need to sign each page of the Will, together with two witnesses. Any alteration also needs to be signed in this manner. The place and date of signing must be written at the end of the document.
Someone who has no interest in the Will. Their signatures merely acknowledge that they saw you sign the Will – they do not have to know the content of the Will. Any potential beneficiary or their spouse should not be a witness when signing your Will.
Appoint alternate heirs
It is always wise to include alternate heirs in your Will. If you do not nominate alternate heirs, your intestate heirs (nearest blood relatives) will inherit your estate.
Reviewing of Wills
Your Will should be reviewed periodically, especially when there has been any changes in your status or circumstances, or those of your beneficiaries, i.e. marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, etc. and after any changes in legislation that could affect your estate.
It is best to advise your family members
• Whom you have nominated as your executor
• That your executor should be notified immediately in the event of your death
• The whereabouts of your Will
• Your wishes regarding funeral arrangements
• Whom to contact if you wish to donate organs or tissues
You should always seek expert and professional advice when you want to draft or review your Will. Attempting to draft the Will yourself could result in the Will being invalid, or could cause unintended consequences due to incorrect wording used.
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March 28, 2015